In light of the recent economy, some Michigan students who decided to attend college out-of-state might find themselves regretting that decision. To help them out, the University is considering re-admitting them as transfer students and allowing them to pay in-state tuition. This would be a nice gesture if it actually alleviated some financial woes. But in reality, transfer students often have to repeat too many credits to make this a practical solution.
Prospective transfer students can determine which of their credits will transfer by looking it up online, but the first problem with the process is that the website is nearly impossible to find. When students do find it, they will learn that the University claims C grades or higher in their classes are likely to successfully transfer. Unfortunately, this is misleading.
Many students who attempt to transfer to the University find themselves needing to repeat courses that they’ve already taken — something to do with other college classes not matching up to the University of Michigan’s caliber, I suppose.
And credits that do transfer might not actually fulfill distribution or concentration requirements, instead only counting toward the 120 credits needed to graduate. The decision on whether or not to accept the credits is based on how the course description at the old university compares to the classes offered here. If the description is close enough, the credits might transfer.
Since many students wind up needing to retake courses based on this system, they end up staying longer at the University. Transfers will end up spending so much money and extra time that they may wish they should have just stayed at their original colleges. It’s unrealistic to assume that allowing more students to transfer will help them with their troubles.
It’s not just the problem of students needing to repeat courses. If students received Advanced Placement credit at the university they were originally attending and then took courses above that level, they may still have to take introductory courses here because the AP score threshold for college credit won’t necessarily match up.
One of my friends went to Michigan Tech, took upper-level physics courses and wanted to transfer to the University of Michigan to enroll in the aerospace engineering program. Unfortunately, his AP score doesn’t count here, so he would have had to take the introductory physics courses here before he could start the rest of his education, even though his credits for higher physics courses would transfer. Where is the logic in this?
The final flaw in this system is the lack of communication between transfer students and advisors. Transfer students fill out tons of paperwork, have their coursework scrutinized and are then put through a subjective system that determines which credits will transfer and which won’t. Not all advisors can say for certain what the department will accept. This means that prospective students might be told by an advisor that a lot of their classes will count here, but then have their hard work rejected by someone else who hasn’t even talked to them.
It is admirable of the University to try to help out students who wish to transfer back in state. Hopefully accepting more students back into the University will help keep jobs in the state and help to repair our dismal economy. But if the University really wants to make this work, it needs to help those students who do make the final decision to transfer here. They need to be able to count more credits, look at each student individually and be more logical in the admissions process without bogging students down with paperwork. It’s not enough just to tell students they can transfer here — the University can and should do more to make this process less painful for all prospective transfer students.
Elise Baun is an LSA senior.